High Country Association of REALTORS News

Realtor sales on pace to be best in decade

Local real estate sales eclipsed 200 for the fourth consecutive month in October, as sales year-to-date continue to be the highest in more than 10 years.

Meanwhile, interest rates are at their highest level since early 2011.

Realtors® sold 225 homes worth $64.51 million in October, according to the High Country Multiple Listing Service. It records all Realtor® sales in Alleghany. Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties. The average sold price was $286,700. 

Monthly sales since July have been higher than 213, peaking at 294 in August. The average sale price surpassed $286,000 in all four months.

In that four-month span, local Realtors® sold 954 homes. That is equivalent to 48 percent of total sales year to date.

For the year, Realtors® have sold 1,950 homes worth $540.91 million. That’s a 9 percent increase compared to this time last year (1,787), and a 11 percent increase compared to 2016 (1,763).

The average sold price through October was $277,389. That’s an increase of 8 percent from last year ($257,678) and 12 percent from 2016 ($246,872).

If sales remain consistent the next two months, 2018 will be the busiest year for local Realtors® since prior to the housing collapse of 2008.

As of November 19, there were 1,810 active listings within the four-county area.

Local sales in October occurred as interest rates continued to slowly climb.

At start of the month, the average 30-year fixed rate was 4.71 percent. It spiked to 4.9 percent October 11, then the highest rate reported since May 2011.

The 30-year average rate dropped for two weeks before again increasing, going even higher. Loan giant Freddie Mac reported November 15 the average 30-year fixed rate was 4.94 percent. The 15-year fixed rate was 4.14 percent.

Rates haven’t been that high since February 2011.

Meanwhile, mortgage applications continue to fall off, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The market composite index - a measure of total loan application volume - declined 3.2 percent from last week. The refinance index fell 4.3 percent from the previous week to its lowest level since December 2000.

Nationally, Realtor® sales are declining. Existing home sales were down 3.4 percent from August to September, the most recent month reported by the National Association of Realtors. Total existing-home sales were down 4.1 percent from a year ago.

Pending home sales did increase slightly in September, up .5 percent from August. But year-over-year, contract signings dropped 1.0 percent, making September the ninth straight month of annual decreases nationally.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said that even though there are year-over-year declines nationally, he sees a stabilizing trend.

“This shows that buyers are out there on the sidelines, waiting to jump in once more inventory becomes available and the price is right,” he said. “The general condition of the economy is excellent, it simply has not lifted home sales this year.”

“Home prices are still rising, so people who are purchasing are still seeing wealth gains,” he said.